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Location: Chicago, United States

I am now at the prime of my life and have been married for the past 25 years. Sickly at times, but wants to see the elixir vita, so that I will be able to see my grandchildren from my two boys.

Friday, September 29, 2006


Dear Auntie Patti Koh,

Just arrived this morning in Philadelphia and took the 35 minutes drive to Blackwood, New Jersey.

The weather when we landed in Philly is hazy but the sun gradually went up and the weather is now looking fine and dandy. It will be swell for the evening and the wedding that we have to attend this evening.

My younger brother is so busy with his friend when we arrived. He was at North Jersey driving around the group Hot Dogs from Pinas. My younger brother is a drummer and has his own band and was asked to be the drummer for the performance of the Hot Dog tomorrow evening for the Pinoy community of North Jersey and New York city.

My brother is telling me that the group is still selling, even with the new generations. Their songs "Ikaw and Miss Universe" and "Manila" , etc is still being applauded by all the audience. My brother said that tomorrow saturday 30th Sept. is a sold out performance. He was so hyper and I am excited about it for him too, because I will be able to see him perform also.

My younger brother's band is called the Pacific Rhythm, and the group are all professionals in their own field. They don't do the band thing as their job, but rather as their hobby and outlet from their hectic real day to day job. My younger brother is a maintenance engineer from the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia. His base guitar is a med tech, the lead guitar is also in the medical field, the alternate guitarist is a doctor by profession, the lead singer is an executive secretary and the other female vocalist is a nurse and so on. They are one fun group to watch.

Majority of their GIG is for the Filipino community and they are heavily booked during the holiday season. They are also performing for weddings and anniversaries and birthdays. They were telling me that they are not into fame and glory and money. They just want to do what they have been doing when they were so young and wanted to do it as an outlet and a hobby, which is very nice.

One time, I was visiting my brother during summer time. They were practicing at the their house when a neighbor complained and called the police and said they are too loud and disturbing the entire neighborhood. This neighbor of my brother has a long time jealousy attitude with my brother. The police came, knock at the door and stated politely their business. They were invited by my brother to come in and see for themselves if the band is really noisy while rehearsing because the door and the entire house windows and sliding doors were closed shut. The police sat down for two songs and afterwards commented that the group was good and said they will take care of the neighbor and to just continue performing and not to open the door or the sliding door.

One thing funny about it - is that when I looked out the window, the back yard neighbor is having a pool party and was dancing while my brother's band is practicing. It was so hilarious.

So this evening, we are prepairing to leave and attend the wedding of my brothers' son in law brother.

So Auntie Patti Ko, I am happy and excited to be with my younger brother again. We don't see each other very often.

Tuesday, September 26, 2006


Dear Auntie Patti Koh,

Last 12 Sept., my wife and myself went to Manila for a short visit until 22Sept. I was trying to unload some of the stuff that we have from the four suitcases that we travelled with, I saw this photos that was taken while my parents and my sisters was at Tagaytay Highlands Ranch.

While we are having our early dinner at the place, I was seatead with my father and across from me is my mother. Father was telling stories in a very soft and mild voice. He cannot speak loud anymore and to my surprise, my father is talking. He was a man of few words. He rarely dwell into conversations. My wife is always asking me if everything is alright with me and my father, because even if we are seated for an hour or more, there is no conversation with the two of us. I told my wife, that is how I grew up with my father, less talk and conversation, but we understood each other.

My eldest sister was telling my dad over dessert how lucky he was to have children around him giving him all the attention and care and always at his side when he needed something. My father smiled and said in a low voice, that is expected because he has been a good father to all of us. He was sharing the stories on how he was taking care of all of us when were still kids and how he was able to make all ends meet.

My mother was also talking simultaneously. She is outspoken and very extrovert, a far cry on the personality of my father. My mother is in the first stage of Alzheimers and we are taking small steps for her in looking after her. She had pelvic surgery twice and is now having a hard time walking. She can walk with the aid of her walking stick but not very far and not too long. The wheel chair and her caregiver is always behind her. My father, likewise, does not move very far without the aid of the wheel chair. He wants to walk all of the time, but he easilty gets tired and so the wheel chair is always handy and his caregiver.

My father is now 85 years old and my mother is 82 years old.
They have just celebrated their 67th wedding anniversary.

During the ride home from the Tagaytay, I was the one driving the car and it was only my wife, myself and my eldest sister inside the car. My parents was on their own car, together with my youngest sister. My eldest sister in my car was telling us stories on how my father goes to his three times a week theraphy at Asia Hospital which is closer to our house. My sister says, that everytime my father finishes his theraphy, he wants to eat immediately at the restaurant at Alabang Town Center. My sister said my father is like a little boy. He looks forward to his theraphy and looks forward in eating lunch at the restaurant at the mall. During his one hour theraphy, the driver returns back home to pick up my mother, so that she could join us for lunch.

I was looking very closely and intently at all the photos that I saw in the suitcase with the pictures of parents and my other sisters and nieces and nephews.

I was asking myself, if we were able to give everything to our parents and if they are both happy with what they have in their retirement years. I shed a tear when I saw the picture of my mother having a hard time going inside the car. She was aided carefully by her caregiver. My mother, who was a very independent and very strong woman when she was younger is now at the mercy of her caregiver. My dad has found another son, from his young care giver who loves him very much and cares very much to all my fathers needs and demands. This young boy of 21 years of age, sleeps at my parents house and is like a family member. His father was our driver for many many years until he died of cancer in our care.

I miss my parents thru the vision of all these pictures that I hold in my hands, so I called them, which I wanted to stop doing, because everytime I called and talked to my parents -- my eldest sister will call back and tell me that my parents becomes depressed and asked when will I come home again.

Auntie Patti Koh -- I am already a full grown man with two full grown boys, and about to retire, but I still miss my parents very much.

Am I such a kid? or am I acting like a kid?

Monday, September 25, 2006


Dear Auntie Patti Koh,

Last Saturday evening, my eldest son came to the house to have dinner with me and my wife. He was in such a very jovial state. I thought it was just natural for him, everytime he comes to the house he always jokes around with us.

Then he broke the ice and was asking us if we like his girlfriend "A". My son was saying that his girlfriend is not Pinay and a pure breed Italian/Irish. He was trying to explain so many things to us, so I cut him short and asked him what does he really wants to tell us.

My son said that his girlfriend will be finished with her schooling next year and she lives in New Jersey. He was asking permission if they could live together at his apartment. My wife and I just looked at each other, and then my wife told my son that that is his own decision to make. He is old enough to know what he wants in life and what will make him happy.

I asked my son -- if he really loves the girl, it has to be what both of them wants and what intentions both of them are planning. I asked him if he was serious with this girl, since this is his fourth girlfriend. He was telling us, that this girlfriend of his listens to him. She takes care of him everytime she comes to Chicago to visit and stays with him. She is so simple and not very vain, and does not smoke and a casual drinker.

My wife asked my son, in case they will get married, if they will live permanently in New Jersey. He told us, that in fairness to his mother, he will live in Chicago and will tell his girlfriend his intentions. Then I asked my son if he is willing to bring home to Pinas his girlfriend and introduce her to his grandparents. He said they have talked about it and his girlfriend is into it. She wants to go and see the Phils. and wants to meet the family, especially my parents.

I was so touched when my son told me should he marry, he will stay in Chicago, to be close to us and in fairness to his mother. I know those words has touched the heart of my wife and mine too. I was looking closely and intently at my son, and I do believe that this son of mine is trying to put himself to see both his happiness and ours.

I think my wife and I have done a good job for my son.

So, Auntie Patti Koh, we went on vacation last week to Pinas and Hongkong for two weeks and when we were in Hongkong, I bought a pearl necklace for my son's girlfriend. My wife bought a jade brooch for her. Looks like both of us are excited for this happiness of my son. I hope and pray that this could be IT. I wanted to have my own grandchildren.

Friday, September 22, 2006


Dear Auntie Patti Koh,

I just got back home from my other home, from Pinas. I am having a sever jet lag problem and I really cannot fall asleep, so I deciced to talk to you.

The rain is really big time back home. The sun is so bright during the day and the rain starts to pour at night in bucketful of it. I was in Quezon City last week, to visit the remaining realtives of my wife there. We were called by his cousin to pay him a visit at his office in Visayas Ave, by the Quezon Circle. We were caught by the rain at 7pm there and I am so scared. The traffic was so bad and there is flood waters in five minutes time. My wife was so scared, but we made it and we stayed at my wife cousin's office till the rain subsided.

It was so nice to be with my parents and the rest of my sisters. We have plenty of laughs together, we have stories again to tell, like as if I con't come home very often. We talked about my departed brother, we have just celebrated his first death anniversary two weeks ago. I felt so bad, my wife and I, was not able to visit him at the Manila Memorial Park.

At any rate, I had the chance to bond with my parents. My mom is having a hard time moving around, but she still inists that she moves around on her wheel chair. She does not want her care giver to assists her, when she moves around the house. Maybe she is trying to show to me that she is still capable of handling herself.

My father, is still the same old sort, who has little things to say and tell. But he is okey. I accompanied him on his theraphy three times a week at the Asia Hospital which is closer to our house. I was so amazed with my father's care giver. He lives in our house and really does a great job taking care of my dad. this kid is only 24 years old and was sent to school by my eldest sister to study and lear about care giver. very patient boy. my dad treats him like a part of the family and so does the other care giver for my mother. this lady only attends to my mother until 6pm, then she goes home and returns at 8am the next morning.

I have a good talk to my father's Physical Therapist. They are so good with my parents, or maybe because of the payment. But what ever that is, they are very good and professonal and all are so young. Of course all of them wants to come to america, because their salary is not that big. I promise to help my Dad's cargiver. I took his resume and will hand carry it to one of the biggest hospital in metropolitan chicago area and will give it to the Human Resources, whose supervisor is a Pinay, and is also my best friend.

My dad is so funny, because after his theraphy, he wanted to eat immediately saying that he is so tired and hungry. So, everytime we end his theraphy we have to go to the Palms Country Club, wherein my sister is a member and sits down for lunch with my mom and dad.

We were not able to go to our summer house in Baguio because of the rain. So instead we went to Tagaytay and stayed overnite at the Highlands Ranch. The weather is so nice out there, thanks to the membership of my brother in law there.

I kept on eating and going to the SM South mall and Alabang town center and Fiesta Mall because these are the malls closest to our house.But I am sweating like I was on fire all of the time. The hunidity is so bad. I did not complain about it, because I dont want to worry my parents. My old bedroom's air conditioner at my parents house is always running. I am sweating like hell, everytime I move around. My mom is worried sick everytime I jump into the pool even at 12midnite. She was telling our security to watch me when I am swimming. I told my mom not to worry, Iam not a lille boy anymore. She said I might catch and cold and fever. I was just laughing.

My scare while I was there is the DENGUE FEVER warning. That is very scary. My dad, orders our worker at home to burn the leaves that is falling around the swimming ppol to ward off the mosquitoes. I was telling my dad, I will be smelling like smoke fish if he keeps on ordering the gardener to burn and smoke the leaves.

And so, Auntie Patti Koh, it was one nice short trip to Pinas. I was able to visit and bond with my sisters and parents. My parents cannot travel anymore. My dad is 85 and my mom is 83 years old. They are now just having fun and enjoying their retirement age.

I was looking at myself thru my dad -- isn't that scarry?

Monday, September 11, 2006


Dear Auntie Patti Koh,

I will take a short time off from all my daily chores and also from work. I will be going to some Asian countries with my wife. I have to take all my vacation time and also my personal holidays before the busy season of the year.

I will be back on the 23rd of September and maybe by that time I will have so many stories and tales of my adventures to tell you.

See you when I come back.

Sunday, September 10, 2006


Dear Auntie Patti Koh,

I am suppose to leave with my wife back home for a two week visit to Manila, this Sept. 11, but I was a little bit paranoid. The terrorist attack on Sept. 11 always becomes a scary memory for me.

I don't want to watch documentaries and even news that shows the destruction of the twin towers especially the footage that shows people jumping out of the building to their death. That is so morbid for me.

My son said I have to keep remembering the Sept. 11 event because this is a grim reminder for all the people of the world, that there is still people who for what reasons and purpose in life, still has the demonic feeling of doing harm to other people who are innocent and has not done anything evil or bad to anyone.

The Sept. 11, my wife is also telling me, is an example of "man's inhumanity to man".It is a day that will be in the memories of everybody and will serve a silent reminder, that evil is lurking anywhere. Best thing to do is be vigilant and be focused on the good to overcome the bad.

And so Auntie Patti Koh, am I paranoid to feel so paranoid on Sept.11?

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


Dear Auntie Pattie Koh,

I have celebrated my birthday 03Sept, in the morning with my two boys and my wife only. My youngest son drove three hours to have a day with me. He now lives near his school and is renting an apartment there. Then my eldest son came, and the four of us had a wonderful lunch at the house only us four. We never talked about my birthday, but we talked about the times the two boys was growing up. My eldest son was telling his story about his travels to Europe and South America. He was giving me and his mom a big thank you for all the things we have given him while he was growing up. He said his tour in Europe when he was 17 years old gave him so much insights on the life outside the states. He was also telling me that when he travelled in South America, he was able to compare the life of these people and the lives of his countrymen back home in the Philippines.

My youngest son was relating back the stories when his school toured the 7 cities of Italy. The school choral group, which my son is part of, and the shcool orchestra, was invited by the school system of Italy so they performed in 7 cities of Italy and was amazed by the response they got from the school and the students. But the one thing my youngest son was telling us that he was very proud of -- is the fact that me and my wife and my sister in law and mother in law, followed my son to all the places where they did their performances. He was telling me that he has lots of classmates who are filthy rich but their parents never bother to be with their children even in one place they had the concert. He was telling us that all of his classmates and members of the choir and orchestra were all jealous because he was the only one whose family was present, watching his performances.

We had a nice time in Rome and at the Vatican. We saw and received the blessing of the Pope from his balcony during the noon time prayers.

It was a very nice conversation during the meal. We were able to recall the happy times we had together. My childrens stories and their feelings and their shared thoughts about how they feel about me and their mom is something to remember. That was very nice to hear.

But my heartaches and pain, is knowing that the two boys have already embarked on a journey of their own. They have given me and my wife the things that they are planning and will be doing when they have finally finished their schooling and how they will settle down.

My eldest son said, she might be moving to New Jersey with her girlfriend whom he said he will be marrying eventually. She is Italian-German and my son loves her very much.

My youngest son is thinking of moving to Europe where he will pursue his dream of being a culinary expert and wanted to be exposed to the famous restaurants of Europe. He even told us that if he will get married, he prefers to live in Europe.

The pain has strucked me, but I did not show it to my two boys. My wife noticed it and just held my hands and smiled at me. We cannot hang on to our children for the rest of their lives. I cannot be the burden on my two boys nor will be the standing block to their dreams and aspirations in life.

Life has to go on.
Life in America has its pains and its pitfalls too.

So, Auntie Pattie Koh, I have to prepare myself to be alone and so does my wife. We have already plans of selling the house when the two boys are really fully on their own.

Are birthdays supposed to be like this?

Friday, September 01, 2006


Dear Auntie Pattie Koh,

Another year in the life of a middle age man is coming again. Another year to think of the past, and what I have done for myself and my family. Another year that have passed so easily, still with the same illness and all the medical impediment.

My wife is telling me that I am aging very fast if I will not let myself relax and feel some enjoyment in life. She said it is always work and no more time to relax and enjoy ourselvs. I was telling my wife, I need to take care of the major things in life, especially the house mortgage. I won't be caught behind by the bank or this will be a disaster. There are so many other things to take care of .

My wife is telling me, that since we are the only two in a big house, to cut the other things we don't need. She wants me to cut the cable from other bedrooms and maintain only one cable line so that there wont be additional charges, since the two boys does not live with us anymore. She was telling me also to cut the internet, since I can do text messaging and other inquiries via celfon.

I was contemplating on what she was telling me, but weighing the odds, I told her, we still need the cables on all the rooms, in case the boys comes home and stay with us for a visit, they will still use their respective rooms. I have cleaned all their rooms so that they can come home anytime they want and use their own rooms.

Both of my two boys are now at home with us. They said they have to celebrate my birthday ahead of time because my youngest son has to go back to his school sunday, and my eldest son has other commitments and things to take care of also.

So, I was told to wake up early, which is not my kind of tea. Even if I am off today and yesterday, I got used to be sleeping at 6am, because I come home at 5am and by the time I have fallen asleep, it is alreay 6am.I always wake up at 1am.

And so, Auntie Pattie Koh -- the house is alive again. The two boys are here. After having dinner, they left and went to see their fiends. They told me not to wait for them, they will be coming late.

So.... what's new?